Monday, 8 March 2010

The Change Agent

I may have mentioned I’m a people person? I didn’t? Oh. Hi. I’m a people person.

I didn’t need to sit tests to know that I am, though through my line of work I’ve sat quite a few. If you’ve ever done Myers-Briggs or the Four Temperaments or any of the other ones, you’ll know they drop you in to a personality type with your extreme (or most obvious) trait, and also what you revert to in times of stress etc. I’ve not done one yet that didn’t have me off or nearly-off the scale as a people person or what ever their equivalent descripton of that term.

I like people. I love the things people bring to the party be it humour, conversation, love, sarcasm, all the good things. I don’t mind when people bring something different like touches of anger and other niggly-type traits (I don’t think anger is bad in all circumstances as long as it’s controlled then used properly afterwards).

But before we move on, as much as I’m in awe of how amazing people can be, I can be floored by how people can do the most horrible things - especially to each other. I’ll say no more here, this is a post about things I like.

And this like of people translates to the movies I like. If I listed my favourite films you’ll see they are, entirely, all about people. I will list a couple of them shortly, but I’d prefer to give you some context, some depth to the people. It’s what it’s all about for me.

As people, we all grow. We all change. We all learn new things about life, each other and ourselves. Sometimes this process takes minutes. Sometimes this can take a lifetime. And equally, sometimes we notice these changes in people in just a few moments. Remember the first time you saw a friend that was pregnant? I don’t know about you, but sometimes I can spot someone pregnant long before the bump appears or any other of the usual signs. Don’t ask me how. I can’t tell you, I can just tell you. From the moment you notice, you then become aware of the changes to that person, not just on the physical side but also their emotional statey, and the now different view they have on life.

Those are the kind of instant things, whereas the others can take months or longer. Sometimes you notice the slow, gradual changes to them and sometimes they sneak up on you and slap you round the face.

And movies for me are the latter kind. But all the life-changing developments that take years are distilled in to a roller-coaster, emotion-filled 90 minutes or so.

The Shawshank Redemption. This has to be in my top couple of films. Sure, there’s action, a well-worked story, a good guy and a bad guy, and a loveable hero in the shape of Andy Dufresne. And as a film I really enjoy what happens. But it’s not about the action or the plot, it’s about the people, and Ellis Boyd Redding in particular.

Ellis Boyd Redding, or “Red” as they call him is a con. A con who can get you anything you need. He was in for murder and now some 20 years later cannot get through a parole board so is stuck in Shawshank, not daring to dream, not daring to think, not daring to live. The arrival of Andy changes all that.

It is how this character develops that makes this film for me. Andy brings hope, but at first Red won’t buy in to it. He lives by someone else’s rules and won’t adopt his own. Slowly, as the film develops and you’re treated to Andy’s life for a couple of hours, you watch as Red grows, changes, lives. It’s just fabulous. He’s totally his own man by the time he sits in front of his last parole board. You hope and pray that he’ll make it on the outside. Andy Dufrense - the change agent.

City of Angels is another, albeit darker and slightly off-key. Meg Ryan’s the change agent to Nick Cage’s angel Seth. Compelling, captivating and soul destroying. Take your contacts out before watching.

And the final one I’ll list here is called The Station Agent. In what seems a pathetic, drudge of a film lives a gem - well for people like me anyway. There’s only 3 characters in the film but their interaction, and the impact our change agent brings is wonderful. Mrs Dropped didn’t seem quite so pleased with it, but the enormous grin on my face at the end told it’s own tale. In itself it’s the most bizarre little nothingness you could ever imagine, but in how the characters meet, interact and develop is nothing short of superb.

And my change agent? You. You know I don’t like talking about me. You know I don’t like talking about myself. But in putting together these posts, I stop and really consider, characterise and explore the things I like and why I do so like them. On the holiday blogs I did, I researched the area, learnt about geographical landscapes, things that occurred there and more. I wanted the posts to be as accurate as possible.

For here, the research, the landscapes, and more is not done on the net or in any books. It’s done with a mirror. As my change agent, you’re helping me draw my map.

1 comment:

  1. Happy to oblige...

    (And on the subject of films, I'm rather surprised to be admitting that I've only watched one of the above: City of Angels. If I ever did any of those tests, I think 'film person' would come out pretty low!)